Since several states have deemed it illegal to use a mobile phone while driving, automakers and electronics companies have tried to find ways to make it easier for us to still use our smartphones in our cars. From the suction cup on the windshield to a small auxiliary screen mounted on the dash, there have been countless attempts to help us keep two hands on the wheel.
Now comes the biggest push yet to fully integrate our smartphones with our cars – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both systems now fully integrate our smartphones with our car's infotainment system, making it easy to control many of our phone's functions via a large LCD screen in the middle of the dash.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will definitely help keep our hands on the steering wheel and eyes more on the road ahead. Here are seven ways that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will make driving safer.
Your phone is on lockdown
Even if you get tempted to look at your phone, there won't be any point. Once you plug your smartphone into the USB port in your car, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto take over your phone's screen.
So, the only way you can access your phone is by using the voice controls or the information on the screen. You could always just unplug your phone, but why do that when everything you need is within shouting – or speaking – distance?
Make phone calls with ease
No need to scroll through your phone while you're on the road to find a friend's number. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have access to your full contact list via your voice or by using the touchscreen in the center of your dashboard. You can even listen to your voicemail or return that missed call from your mom.
Apple and Google Maps are now hands-free
Before Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, if you wanted to use Apple or Google Maps for directions, you had to stare at your phone's likely tiny screen for directions. Obviously, this wasn't very safe and was the one of the easiest ways for you to get pulled over or worse.
You can now access both mapping systems on your car's infotainment screen, which will help you keep your eyes closer to where it matters – on the road. Better yet, both Siri and Google Now will dictate every turn to you through your car's speaker system.
Find all your music by just asking for it
Trying to find a song in your music library probably ranks pretty high in the number of things that you are doing with your phone while driving – right beside "looking for a phone number" and "texting". Now, you can access all your music without even having to touch your phone.
Simply ask Siri for a song, and Apple CarPlay will automatically cue it up on your car's audio system. You can also access Spotify or Pandora. (Google Now can do the same through Android Auto.) No more pawing at a screen with your other paw on the wheel.
Give your thumb a break
No need to grab your phone to send a text to a friend that you're late for dinner because now you can simply send, listen to and reply to text messages with your voice. Apple CarPlay will also play audio messages back to you, as will Android Auto.
Dangerous road system ahead?
Android Auto can offer suggestions for alternate routes to your destination as traffic conditions change along your current route. This is something that many older navigation systems can't hold a candle to yet.
Apple Maps can also provide you with current traffic, too. But whether it's as up-to-date as Google Maps is another story.
Make lists on the go without lifting a finger
Ever think of something that you wanted to write down while you were driving? It almost goes without saying that it would be dangerous to search for a pen and paper or tap it into your smartphone while you're driving.
Apple CarPlay allows you to make lists and set up reminders by talking to the system through Siri. Meanwhile, Android Auto does the same through Google Now. You can even set said reminders to go off at certain times by dictating commands like, "Hey Siri, remind me to pick up milk on the way home today?"